Cornea implant or corneal transplant is the procedure to improve the vision by replacing the part of the cornea that is damaged due to injury or disease with healthy tissues from a donor. Cornea is a dome shaped surface on the eye that prevents it from germs, dusts, and other particles. Thus, if cornea gets infected or damaged, it makes way for several eye related conditions. The cornea implant is done when light no longer enters the eye, providing a clear view to the person. It also relieves the pain and other signs and symptoms that are associated with cornea such as Fuch’s dystrophy, thinning of the cornea, scarring or infection, clouding, swelling, ulcers in the cornea, etc. Cornea implant is an outpatient procedure and generally have favorable outcome due to the advancement in current technologies and methods.
Before starting the procedure, the doctor will perform a thorough eye test and take measurements of your eye. This will allow the doctor to eliminate any conditions that may affect your eye or cause other complications during the implant such as infection or inflammation. You will be asked not to eat or drink after the midnight before the surgery.
You may receive sedative or local anesthesia to help you relax and keep your eye muscles intact. The surgeon will begin removing small and round pieces of cornea with a tiny cutting instrument called a trephine with the help of a microscope. Once your damaged part of the cornea is removed, the new healthy cornea that is derived from a deceased donor, will be transplanted into your eye by cutting and sewing it with an ultra fine thread. The thread will be removed by the doctor once your eye is completely healed. The whole procedure lasts for 1-2 hours and you will need to spend few more hours in recovery room.
Cornea implant generally is quite a safe procedure, however, there may be some complication associated with it. These are:
- Increased pressure in the eyeball (glaucoma)
- Clouding of the lens (cataracts)
- Decreased vision
- Sensitivity to light
Post operative care
Once the procedure is complete, you will be placed in the recovery room where your vital signs will be monitored. After few checkups, you can leave for home the same day. You will feel some soreness that will go away eventually. You will need to wear an eye patch or gauze for a couple of days to prevent it from infection.
The doctor may prescribe some eye drops and oral medications to ease off the pain and irritation. Seek medical attention if complications become severe and you experience shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, chills, nausea, etc.
Your vision won’t be improved in a few days. You may experience worse vision for few months as the eye will take time to heal and adjust.
Do not rub your eyes and take proper care of it while indulging in certain activities.
Visit your doctor for regular appointments for eye exams and see how well the treatment is going.